How to teach children forgiveness

Children, like adults, have reasons for resentment: for example, a classmate did not invite a birthday or a friend blurted out a secret. They also get angry and suffer, often not realizing that it is enough to forgive. How to help them come to this understanding? The psychologist explains.

Once I asked my three -year -old son what it means to “forgive”, and he answered a kiss. But the researchers put into this concept a slightly different meaning than “excuse”, “spare”, “justify” or “make peace”. Forgive – means making a decision to cease to be indignant at injustice, get rid of the desire to take revenge on the offender.

Doctor of Social and Behavioral Psychology Renee Van Der Val notes in a report on the results of the 2017 study that children most often seek to repay for resentment with the same coin. Although it is risky to take revenge, it seems to them that this is a worthy answer, which at the same time serve as a warning to the rest. But the reckoning is too expensive. The vindictive child becomes closed, the peers are shunning, he does not have friendly relations. The one who agrees to forgive is usually able to repay the conflict and maintain friendship. Three tips that will help to pump the “muscle” forgiveness in children.

1. Form a model of forgiveness in the family. Van der Val believes that it is most important for children to see generosity in the family. Parents can teach them by their own example. In 2008, a group of experts led by Gregory Mayo conducted a study among 95 British families. Throughout the year, mother, fathers and children of 12-16 years old, twice answered questions about forgiveness. Parents who were merciful and condescending to children at the beginning of the year, in most cases, deserved the same attitude from children at the end of the year.

This result confirms that children learn this skill by the example of parental behavior, Mao concludes. Children notice how we suffer from the pain that relatives cause and they ourselves. The annoyed brother rushes in rude words, the distracted spouse passes by the ears of the request for help, the teenager gives out secrets, because of which relations with best friends are spoiling. In such cases, it is difficult to restrain emotions, but the children look closely at us, studying the range of possible reactions. After they saw you in this state, it is important to find strength and say that you decided to forgive everything.

Children who can restrain momentary impulses will rather forgive the offender than to reckless desire to take revenge

2. From early childhood, develop the ability to realize strong emotions. Executive functions: the ability to maintain information (working memory) in the mind, focus on important and restrain impulses (braking), think creatively and switch between styles of thinking (cognitive flexibility) – also play a significant role in the ability to forgive. Children who can restrain momentary impulses will rather forgive the offender than to the desire to take revenge. According to the social psychologist Tila Pronk, developed executive functions help children control strong emotions. Children learn to manage emotions in an imitation game, the waist Goldstain and Matya Lerner found out according to the results of their research.

A hundred four children randomly distributed in groups. One had to imagine that the room has a sticky floor or cold, play the role of a baby or chef that prepares different dishes. Others were offered to play traditional games: to

build from bricks or listen to stories. Then the researchers checked how the children manage emotions: they asked how they felt when they heard that someone was in trouble, or saw that the aunt was bored with a knee or hurt a finger. It turned out that the children from the group of imitators experienced a lesser emotional shock than those who played ordinary games.

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